Heel spur or calcaneal spur is a condition associated with heel pain caused by an outgrowth of bone that extends from the heel bone (calcaneus). However, it is important to know that heel spurs usually do not cause heel pain. The heel pain from patients with heel spurs is typically due to the presence of underlying plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendinitis.
There are 2 areas of the heel bone where spurs are commonly found – plantar (bottom of the heel) and posterior (back of the heel).
Heel spur formation is considered a process of adapting to stress. The are 2 soft tissue structures attached to the heel bone (calcaneus), Achilles tendon and plantar fascia. When we stand, walk or run, the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia will stretch and create traction (pulling) on the attachment point of the heel bone. This repetitive stress on the heel bone triggers an inflammatory response and causes calcium to be deposited at the attachment, forming a heel spur over time.
The management for heel spurs involves addressing factors to reduce traction from the Achilles tendon or plantar fascia on the heel bone. Directed management will be necessary if the patient presents with pain caused by plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendinitis.
Management options for heel spur include:
Surgical removal of a heel spur is only required if it is the primary cause of heel pain and the above options do not provide symptom relief.